HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
October 23, 2006

Cardinals and Tigers have met before

By Matt Kane

There was good news for Detroit Lions fans last week. A winning team actually did something productive at Ford Field.

Too bad for football fans, it was the Major League Baseball version of the Motor City Kitties — the Detroit Tigers — who, for the first time in the stadium’s five years of existence, massaged its turf with the cleated footsteps of a winner.

As the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets smacked each other around for the rites to play them in the World Series, the Tigers were fielding fungoed balls in between sessions of sitting on the couch in front of the big screen television.

The week-long wait (Detroit clinched the American League pennant Oct. 14) came to an end Thursday night, when light-hitting catcher Yadier Molina ripped a change-up over the left field wall at Shea Stadium in the top of the ninth inning, and closer Adam Wainwright closed out the Mets for a 3-1 Game 7 win.

Twins fans will appreciate the following note concerning game sevens: The Cardinals and Mets were tied 1-1 heading into the ninth inning. The Jack Morris Game, in the 1991 World Series, was the first ever Game 7 to be tied after the seventh inning.

Getting back to the now, the Tigers and Cardinals opened the World Series Saturday night, in the first postseason meeting between the two franchises since 1968, when Detroit won in seven games, behind the strong pitching of Mickey Lolich.

This year’s series will be the third between the Cardinals and Tigers.

Remember 1934, when the Tigers played in Navin Stadium and the Cardinals, known as the Gas House Gang, called Sportsman’s Park home?

Dizzy Dean and Joe Medwick led St. Louis to its third World Series win that season, while, at the same time dropping Detroit’s record to 0-4 in World Series play.

In the 1934 series, Medwick had to be removed from Game 7 by Commissioner Judge Landis because he was being pelted with soda bottles and fruit by the Detroit crowd.

With the Cardinals winning in 1934 and the Tigers in 1968, that makes this year’s Fall Classic the rubber series between the two organizations.

The Tigers have four World Series championships (1935, 1945, 1968, 1984), and this is their 10th appearance in the World Series. The Cardinals have nine championships (1927, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982) in 16 trips to the big series.

The Cardinals’ last trip to the championship round was in 2004, while the Tigers haven’t stiffed late October since 1984.

In the 1944 series, St. Louis defeated St. Louis in six games. That is, the Cardinals defeated the Browns.

Although in different leagues, the current Cardinal and Tiger squads know each other quite well.

After stepping down as the Colorado Rockies manager in 1999, Detroit skipper Jim Leyland worked under St. Louis manager Tony Larussa as a scout for the Cardinals.

The fans from each city may also recognize some names on the rosters.

Cardinals Juan Encarnacion (1997-2001) and Jeff Weaver (1999-2002) began their big league careers in Detroit, and American League Championship Series most valuable player Placido Polanco (1998-2001, 2002) started his in St. Louis.

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